Category Archives: Military

Census Sunday – Grandpa in 1920

Lawrence 1920

Just in time for Memorial Day, here is Grandpa Lawrence Montgomery‘s 1920 census record. I still haven’t found him (or his father) in 1910, so this is the first record where he appears. In that year he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. His age is listed as 21, which is consistent with the (incorrect) birthdate Grandpa gave when enlisting in 1917. Grandpa was really only 18 in January 1920. Nebraska is listed as the birthplace of Grandpa (which is correct), as well as his parents (which is incorrect). His occupation is “soldier.” Grandpa’s military records give a little more information on his military service, though Grandpa also told some (as yet unsubstantiated) colorful stories about his experiences:

  • Being stationed in Hawaii
  • Being sent to climb up a pole to cut down an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm
  • While operating the base movie projector (which his records confirm he did do), hollering at someone who came in to the projector room to put out their cigar, only to have someone tell him he had just yelled at General Pershing

Whatever Grandpa’s role, I’m grateful for his service.

Amanuensis Monday – May God Bless You

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On March 21, 1966 my paternal grandfather, Lawrence Theodore Montgomery, wrote to my dad, then in the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana and approaching his 24th birthday. Grandpa’s letter cost 8 cents to send air mail to “Pvt. Theodore R. Montgomery, RA 19882937 2nd Train Brig., 2D Battalion Co. B., Fort Polk, Louisiana 71459.” Grandpa mentions Linda Jo (my mother, waiting in Idaho to join Dad once he was out of basic training), as well as four of his twelve children: Laura, the youngest; Linda Lea, then sixteen; Gene, about 18 months older than Dad; and Flo, Grandpa’s eldest, 38 years old and with seven children of her own.

Caldwell, Idaho
March 21, 1966

Dear Ted:

We ran into trouble trying to transfer the Studebaker to Gene. We must have a sales tax exemption signed and notarized by you or pay the sales tax on it for the full book price. Request that you get this form signed and your commanding officer can notarize it for you. Gene is planning on going to work right away and will need the car. He may go to work in Nampa.

Linda Jo said she missed your phone call yesterday. Gene said you were probably still in the field.

Gene, Laura, Mom and I went out to Flo’s yesterday all afternoon and evening. Linda Lea stayed home to study.

Spring is showing up here now the mountains are pretty white with snow but it is 45° here in the Valley. We are going to plan garden this week, if the moon is right.

Everyone is O.K. here now. Laura is home with a sore throat but not serious. Bob Baird left for San Diego yesterday morning. We plan on a birthday dinner for you and Laura at McGarvins about the 3rd of April or when it is most convenient for you.

Must close and get this off to you as soon as you get this back to us we can get a license on the car.

May God Bless You
Dad, Mom, Gene & Gals

Also included in the envelope is a letter from Aunt Laura, Dad’s handicapped youngest sister, then five days shy of her fifteenth birthday:

Dear Ted

I Miss you very much. Be glad when you come home. Maybe we can have a Birthday Party to-gether after you get home. Love Laura

Interestingly, the envelope also contains a self-addressed stamped envelope as well as the Idaho Sales Tax Vehicle Certificate Dad was supposed to have notarized and return. I know Uncle Gene ended up with the Studebaker somehow; Dad may have to explain that one.

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Amanuensis Monday – Iran the Place Unknown

Sometime around 1942 Clarence Salmer Wilson wrote to his older sister Blanche (my grandmother) during his enlistment in the Army. He had been born August 29, 1915 in Wood, South Dakota, fifth child of Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. He appears with his parents and siblings in Cody, South Dakota, in the 1920 census, and with his mother (now separated from his father) and siblings in Witten, South Dakota, in 1930. Clarence obtained an eighth grade education, and in 1940 appears as one of several laborers in the home of Paul and Jennie McDill in Riverside, South Dakota.

On December 9, 1945 in Wood, South Dakota, Clarence married Addie Peacock, who had been born in January 1924. Together they had three children: Lana Dell, Larry Dale, and Loren Carl Wilson. Clarence died July 29, 1992 in Irrigon, Oregon.

[no envelope; written on stationery with United States Army logo]

How are you Folks? Did you have the flue at your house very bad? We are still in the same old place. Have been stationed here a little over a year now. Have a fairly nice Hospital & everything is fixed up quite nice considering what we have to put up with being over here. Go the Shows & basket ball games right now & see a USO Show every once in a while also. We can’t complain to much after all. Have a chaplin here to so I go to Church as often as I can get away. I wish we could get this War over with so all we boys could come home. Won’t that be a wonderful day. I get so lonesome at times don’t hardly know what to do. I can’t think of any more to say so believe I will close. Happyness to all the Family & Gods blessings at all time. Love & kisses to all.

Brother Clarence.

P.S. Give my best regards to all the Family from me in Iran the place unknown ha.

Grandpa’s Military Record

In 1919, Grandpa Montgomery enlisted in the Army, claiming to have been born August 26, 1898.  In reality, he was born August 26, 1901 and was only fifteen at the time.

Instrument No. 407443 Honorable Discharge from The United States Army
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

This is to Certify that Lawrence T. Montgomery, #342080. Corporal, Company “K”. second Infantry. THE UNITED STATES ARMY, as a Testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service, is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States by reason of Expiration of service per prov. Circ. Co [?] 1, WD 1919 Said Lawrence T. Montgomery was born in Holdrege, in the State of Nebraska. When enlisted he was eighteen years of age and by occupation a Farmer. He had L. Blue eyes, D. Brown hair, Ruddy complexion, and was five feet eleven inches in height. Given under my hand at Camp Dodge Iowa. this 18 day of April, one thousand nine hundred and nineteen. W C Bennett Colonel Second Infantry

(on the reverse)

ENLISTMENT RECORD

Name: Lawrence T. Montgomery Grade: Corporal
Enlisted, or April 6, 1917, at Fort Logan Colorado. Serving in first enlistment period at date of discharge. Prior service: none Noncommissioned officer: Corporal Marksmanship, gunner qualification or rating: M.M. Aug. 4, 1917 [illegible line]

Battles, engagements, skirmishes, expeditions: none
Knowledge of any vocation: farmer
Wounds received in service: none
Physical condition when discharged: Good
Typhoid prophylaxis completed: April 30, 1917
Paratyphoid prophylaxis completed: Dec. 8, 1917
Married or single: Single
Character: Excellent
Remarks: Served in Co. K 2nd inf. from April 6, 1917 to April 18, 1919

Signature of soldier: Lawrence T. Montgomery
Camp Dodge, Iowa Apr. 19, 1919 Paid in Full Including Bonus, $188.01
H T Jensen Capt. Second Infantry Commanding Co. “K”

Instrument No. 407444 Honorable Discharge from The United States Army

TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

This is to Certify that Lawrence T. Montgomery, A.S.N.R.-342080. Corporal Co. B. 37th Infantry THE UNITED STATES ARMY, as a Testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service, is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States by reason of Expiration of term of ServiceSaid Lawrence T. Montgomery was born in Holdrege, in the State of Nebraska. When enlisted he was 20 8/12 years of age and by occupation a Farmer. He had Blue eyes, D. Brown hair, Ruddy complexion, and was five feet eleven inches in height. Given under my hand at Fort McIntosh Texas this 18 day of April, one thousand nine hundred and twenty. Frank L. Winn Colonel 37th Infantry

(on the reverse)

ENLISTMENT RECORD

Name: Lawrence T. Montgomery Grade: Corporal
Enlisted April 19, 1919, at Camp Dodge Iowa. Serving in Second enlistment period at date of discharge. Prior service: Co. K. 2nd Infantry from April 6-1917 to April 18-1919. Noncommissioned officer: Warrant for Corporal continued in force upon [?] (Re-enlistment) Marksmanship, gunner qualification or rating: Unqualified

Horsemanship: Not Mounted

Battles, engagements, skirmishes, expeditions: none
Knowledge of any vocation: Moving picture Operator
Wounds received in service: none
Physical condition when discharged: Good
Typhoid prophylaxis completed:
Paratyphoid prophylaxis completed: Dec. 8, 1917
Married or single: Single
Character: I certify the soldier’s character [illegible]
Remarks: No. A.W.O. [?] G.O. 45. W.D. 1914. Service Honest and Faithful. Entitled to travel pay to Fort Collins, Colo.

Signature of soldier: Lawrence T. Montgomery

Lowell M. Riley Captain 37th Infantry Commanding Hdq. Co.